Arrival - now get to work (& don't sweat the luggage)!

Dr. Keith Forwith checking a thyroidPalpating one of many, many thyroidsAs with most my recent travel, there were a few glitches. Our plane out of Amsterdam was delayed and had to be switched to a smaller version. Fortunately, we were not among he 80 passengers who got bumped. Unfortunately, our luggage must have gotten bumped, because upon arrival in Nairobi – no checked luggage! I had surgical supplies for the OR as well as nearly all my clothes and scrubs. We heard tonight that we'll likely get our bags tomorrow, or maybe the next day...

 Our first consult call came before I even got a foot into the guest house. We had just unloaded from our drive to Tenwek when the guest house phone rang. There were two patients to be seen – the first was a personal friend of the hospital CEO. It gave me a chance to meet him and tell a few stories from last year's mission trip. The second was a 16 year old boy that fell from a motorcycle and broke both sides of his jawbone, ouch!

mandible x-rayBoth sides of the mandible are displaced


I started the morning by giving a lecture on thyroid anatomy, function and benign thyroid disease. My interactions with the interns and residents during these teaching sessions are amongst my favorite parts of being here. In Kenyan culture, it is impolite to be loud. As a result, they are quiet and very difficult to get to speak up. Nevertheless, I don't believe people learn as well by just passively listening, so I ask a lot of questions and make them interact. It was quite fun! Next week, we'll be discussing thyroid cancer and the parathyroid glands.


Kenyan resident with patientsPhillip taking a history in clinic -I really need to learn Swahili!The day proceeded with a mixture of clinic and theatre (operating room). Bryan Murphy MD, on his first mission trip to Tenwek took a young surgical resident through his first open mandible fracture. The surgery went well enough that Bryan was able to release him from his IMF (intermaxillary fixation) – meaning that his jaws were wired shut and after the operation could be released – saving him from at least 8 weeks of drinking and eating through a straw! But that wasn't nearly the end. We saw lots of stuff in clinic, but none more interesting than a one year old Maasai baby – who will be the subject of tomorrow's post. So , check back – you won't want to miss that story!